School life is tough. With changes to how we learn, study and connect as a result of COVID-19, focusing and staying on task has become more and more difficult for students everywhere.
As we sidle into exam season, it’s more important than ever to take care of our mental health. Here are some great tips, courtesy of Michelle – a current yr 10 student who joined the Indigo fam this week (for work experience). These are tips she uses to help keep up with the demand and pressure that comes with getting through school and life right now.
1. Value your well-being and your self
First and foremost, it is extremely important to take care of yourself mentally and physically to tackle the stress that may come along with school. You can do this in a lot of ways, including: getting proper sleep, exercise, meditation, and a balanced diet. By also setting aside time for relaxing activities or things that you love, you can refresh your mind and create balance between work and play. Valuing and respecting yourself is crucial to develop a more positive mindset in order to support you in handling tough circumstances.
2. Connect with others
Stay connected with your friends, family and loved ones. Although social connections have transformed into a lot of virtual interactions the past few months during the pandemic, it is incredibly valuable to enjoy time with those who care about you. Research has shown that high levels of meaningful social connection can increase levels of happiness and reduce levels of stress. By engaging with current relationships and forming new relationships, you can benefit from energy boosts, improve your sense of belonging and feel more relaxed and supported. Especially in virtual learning, a simple phone/video call with a friend can offer great stress-relief!
3. Setting Goals
Setting both short-term and long-term goals is a great way to progress with life and get past any present burdens or struggles. Goals provide long-term vision and short-term motivation to support you in your school journey. They help guide and sustain momentum in life while also directing your focus on what is important at the present moment. Goal-setting can also heighten self-awareness about your actions, efforts and time-management skills. Analysing these factors is a great way to pinpoint what may be preventing you from moving forward with your studies or any other challenges.
4. Reward yourself
School comes with a lot of challenges, so it’s important to reward yourself after overcoming a big event or accomplishment. Recognising your self-worth, hard work or achievement of a goal and applauding yourself as a result, is a satisfying way of raising your hopes and motivating yourself. How you enjoy certain rewards can range from person to person but some suggestions are: a good meal, a fun day out or a movie marathon. It’s so important to recognise your achievements to create a loop of positive reinforcement that will benefit you in the long run.
5. Giving back
Contributing to the community can increase your social well-being and mood significantly. Meaningful work such as volunteering, helping a neighbour or even conducting small acts of kindness can help you become more active, mentally and physically. The social aspect of helping and working with others can have a great effect on one’s overall psychological well-being. Volunteering is a perfect way to balance out all the stress from schoolwork while also having some fun, doing what you love. Such experiences are able to provide a new-found sense of achievement and purpose while also sharing and developing new skills.
Some great organisations that are always actively seeking volunteers include:
- animal welfare organisations like the RSPCA or Sydney Dogs and Cats Home
- organisations and charities that look after vulnerable people like the Australian Red Cross, The Smith Family, the Starlight Children’s Foundation, UnitingCare Australia, and Meals on Wheels
- other community organisations like state emergency services, rural fire services and Surf Life Saving Australia
This post was written by Michelle, a yr-10 student who joined the Indigo this week for work experience. We would love to thank her for support and hard work this week and wish her all the best for exam-season and all that lies ahead!